In 2010, the first year the club delivered turkeys to the needy, they gathered 30 holiday baskets from surrounding grocery stores and in the second year they increased their donation to 50 meals.
This year, the club doubled its efforts with a total of 100 dinners for the underserved in Queens.
“We do everything but cook and serve,” said Kiwanis president Al Gentile. “This is a very rewarding experience for me personally, and if we can help people have a nicer Thanksgiving then that’s what it’s all about.”
At the end of the day, dozens of Thanksgiving dinners were delivered to soup kitchens in Far Rockaway, the Notre Dame Academy in Ridgewood, Saints Joachim and Anne School in Queens Village, and St. Margaret’s Catholic School in Middle Village, as well as to a number of individual families.
“This is all we do,” Gentile said. “We try and fundraise as much as we can throughout the course of the year and as soon as the fundraiser is over, the board is already planning on where to donate any of the proceeds.”
J.P. DiTroia, the New York District Kiwanis membership chair and member of the Middle Village club, joined Gentile again this year to help deliver the turkey baskets.
DiTroia noted the importance of recruiting more volunteers to help with future events, and said the reward is simply something that money cannot buy.
“We get paid from the smiles that we get seeing the children when we do these things and the accolades from people,” he said “I’ll tell you, it’s a wonderful, wonderful feeling.”